In the months leading up to Israel’s recent elections, the country’s attorney general announced that he would seek indictments against Benjamin Netanyahu on multiple charges of corruption. Nonetheless, Netanyahu’s Likud party gained seats in the Knesset, ensuring that he will retain the premiership. Evelyn Gordon points to a survey, conducted in February, that may explain why the corruption charges haven’t damaged Netanyahu at the ballot box:
Fully 65 percent of Likud voters and 75 percent of ḥaredi voters think law-enforcement agencies are simply trying to oust Netanyahu. On one level, this is shocking. But on another, it’s not shocking at all because the Israeli left has spent decades successfully subverting the concept of “the rule of law” for its own political benefit.
For instance, Israel’s Supreme Court repeatedly overturns government policies not because they violate any law but because the justices deem them “unreasonable.” . . . Moreover, in almost every Western democracy, the executive and legislative branches choose Supreme Court justices; only in Israel do sitting justices have veto power over the choice of their successors. Yet the left has branded every attempt to align Israel’s judicial appointments system with this Western norm as “contrary to the rule of law,” and has thereby successfully staved off change. . . .
[In addition], there’s the unequal application of laws, as epitomized by a pre-election [Supreme Court] ruling that disqualified a Jewish Knesset candidate but nixed the disqualification of an Arab party, Balad. . . .
So here’s how your average rightist voter understands the rule of law today: [as] a trick for ensuring that the left can continue imposing its views no matter how many elections it loses. That trick has successfully thwarted all legislative efforts at reform. But the price is that many rightists now distrust and despise “the rule of law” to such an extent that they dismiss pending indictments against a prime minister as just another attempt by the legal establishment to subvert democracy.